Steve lives in an orderly world that is perfectly tailored to his needs.
It is obvious to us that this world was made by someone outside of Steve’s own kind, that it was created by someone who is bigger, wiser, and more powerful than Steve.
But Steve isn’t so sure.
Steve thinks that perhaps this world may have come into existence by accident.
Steve thinks that if you had enough sets of these exact Lego pieces and shook them up, at least one set would just happen to snap together in this particular pattern.
Do you think he could be right?
We posed this scenario to our kids a few months back, and asked them if they agreed with Steve. Could you shake up these Legos and eventually get a fully-formed Minecraft world on accident?
“That would never happen in a million years,” said my oldest son, Caleb. He laughed with us while we talked about how silly it would be if Steve didn’t believe in the existence of “a Caleb.” Because of course it takes a master Lego builder to assemble a complex brick world.
And yet, there are lots of people out there who would willingly lead our children astray with equally ridiculous ideas about the creation of our world. Their ideas are persuasive and attractive. They claim to have science on their side. And so my husband and I believe that it is never too early to being instilling in our children that there are even more persuasive arguments in favor of a Creator.
This whole idea, the study of the reasons that support what we believe, is known as apologetics, and contrary to what some people would think, it is not diametrically opposed to having great faith. Yes, there are things about our faith that we cannot and will not fully understand this side of heaven. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, our current understanding is limited, and we will not know things fully until we have stepped into eternity.
But that does not mean we bury our heads in the sand and just hope our hardest that everything we believe is true. That would be a mockery to the work of the early apostles. Their whole mission was based on the fact that they were eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. In their minds, having seen the risen Lord was irrefutable evidence that everything they had believed about Jesus was true.
In fact, towards the end of his gospel, the apostle John writes, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”(John 20:30-31).
It was an important part of the early church’s ministry that new believers would understand the reason for the things that they believed, and would put their faith not just in the apostles’ word, but on the evidence that supported the things they were saying.
If having a reasoned, well-thought-out belief was important to the earliest witnesses of Jesus, I believe it should be important to us as parents, too.
As I said earlier, we are already beginning to have some of these conversations with our children (currently aged 7 and 9), and I don’t think you can start planting these seeds in their minds too early.
I’m thankful to have a husband who has spent the last several years studying apologetics, both as a hobby, and through courses with Biola University . But this is not just for people who have a special education; anyone can learn more about apologetics as a parent and start a dialogue with your kids. Here are some great resources to get you started:
Natasha Crain’s books, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side and Talking with Your Kids about God are both excellent resources for any parent. She also has pretty extensive booklists on her website if you’re looking to learn more about a particular area of apologetics.
Another great website to get you started on the role of apologetics in your parenting is Mama Bear Apologetics. They’ve also recently released a book. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list and I’m hoping to get to it soon!
If you want to learn more yourself about the evidence for our faith, one of the very best places to begin is with Lee Strobel’s book A Case for Christ. This book was recently adapted into a movie, which was surprisingly good, and if you like Strobel’s writing style, he has a whole series of books about different aspects of apologetics.
Finally if you’re ready to begin discussing these with your kids, the Picture Book Apologetics series by J.D. Camorlinga is great for starting that conversation. (This book is the one that sparked the conversation above). We also plan to use J. Warner Wallace’s CaseMakers series in our homeschool in the coming year (I’ll share more about that soon), and will also be utilizing the free resources on their website. We haven’t read these yet, so we are not completely sure how it will go, but we will start with this book and go from there.
I hope that sparks your interest in this important topic and helps get you started. May God give you wisdom as you help your kids know the solid foundation of truth on which our faith rests!
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